Newsletter 14- 12/10/17

Weekly Highlights

This week we focused on JOY in morning meeting. Students reflected on their favorite things to do, activities they would like to try, and the way they feel when they are happy. We took a lot of opportunities to be playful and silly, including our time on Friday when students drew a picture of themselves as an animal.

We went to the library to watch the 3/4 play – Willy Wonka.

We built in more work with commas – specifically looking at and learning about appositives. We finished up our friendly persuasive letter correspondences. We used a graphic organizer to plan out our arguments and supporting facts.

Announcements

We will be attending  “Peter Pan” on Thursday, December 21.  We ask families with children attending the performance to please send in $6.50/child to the front desk or to the classroom teacher by December 15. No TPS child will miss the experience, regardless of ability to pay.

Snack Schedule:

Last names Allen-Crouch – 1/9, 2/5, 3/5, 4/16
Last names Daniels-Lawson – 1/15, 2/12, 3/26, 4/23
Last names Leinenbach-Port – 12/11, 1/22, 2/19, 4/2
Last names Pulley-Wright 12/18, 1/29, 2/26, 4/9

Questions to Ask Yourself at Home

  • What is a way you experience joy?
  • What did you learn about pregnancy & fetal development this week?
  • How did you connect facts (qualitative & quantitative) to your persuasive letters?
  • What is happening in your math group lately?
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Newsletter 13 – 12/3/17

Weekly Highlights

This week we mostly focused on the curriculum through Middle Way House and our new Writers Workshop unit.

Our work with Middle Way House focused on a few different threads: gender, power & control, unhealthy/healthy relationships, and bystander intervention. Students learned and worked through much of this with our facilitator, Sam. They connected students with ways to get help for themselves or for a friend. We also learned about consent and the times in the 5th/6th grader’s life when we may need to get consent (hanging out, playing a rough game, hugging). A huge takeaway from the 5/6 teaching team was that our students have many, many questions about violence, relationships, and gender. The bulk of each 90 minute session was spent on the complex ways students are envisioning the world around them.

A summary, sent by Prevention Educator Sam, is below:

Question Themes We Heard This Week
  • violence at home and at school
  • stranger violence (shooting)
  • accountability (what to do if you’re causing harm)
  • suicide and self-harm
  • fear of reporting harm or not knowing who to report to
  • friendship (breaks and endings)
  • definitions or word meanings
  • gender stereotypes, gender identity, and sex

If you have any followup questions for TPS teachers, please email us and we can help.

In CPR, we have been studying trust. After defining what trust is and feels like, students reflected on the adults they have in their life that they feel they can trust. We also explored trust as a class, doing some activities to bring our own trust for one another, together.

Our writing work is a combo – we are learning to write persuasive letters as well as teaching conventions. Students are choosing two perspectives that disagree on an opinion. They are writing a friendly correspondence that justifies each position. We are also working in small groups to learn about commas.

Announcements

We will be going to see Peter Pan on December 21st. Please send in $6.50 for your child to attend. No child will be excluded based on an inability to pay. Donations for others welcome. We’ll be collecting this money for the weeks leading up to Peter Pan. We are so excited to see this Cardinal Stage production.

Please send Ms. Kalei or have students bring in pictures of pets this week. We’ll be doing some work with animals and joy on Friday.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • What was a takeaway for you from this week with Sam? (Students responded on Fresh Grade to three separate prompts related to Middle Way House, they may need to look at their portfolio to remind them).
  • What are the two perspectives you are writing about in Writers Workshop?
  • What is a situation in which you may need someone’s consent?
  • How can you intervene when you see bullying?

Newsletter 12 – 11/17/17

Weekly Highlights

This week we got into some new and exciting topics. In P3, we spent four days talking about puberty. We’ll be talking about gender later on, so our focus here was mostly on what happens to you physically as you go through and experience puberty. We covered commonalities experienced by people during puberty, female bodies, and male bodies.

Below, you’ll find a list of some of the questions we addressed.  Some parts of puberty & growing up will not be addressed in our curriculum. As we move forward with the unit, we’ll send you a document of the questions we haven’t answered, so you can have these conversations at home in the way that you choose to.We are using the text It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley as well as Sex Is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg to guide our discussions.

Kids have handled these conversations with tremendous maturity and honesty. That was also visible today when we debriefed the movie Wonder. We watched it Friday morning, and after, we had a conversation about messages it left us with. We also talked about the ways that the message “Our actions are our monuments” may impact and/or show up at school. Students discussed and brought forward some ideas of what they think needs to change at TPS, and we’ll start addressing those as soon as we return from Thanksgiving Break.

After break, we’ll be doing some work with Middle Way House on building healthy relationships. This work will mostly explore power, violence, and how to set boundaries in relationships. We’ll also be talking about what healthy and unhealthy relationships can look like and feel like, and some ideas of how to help yourself/your friends if you find yourself in a dynamic that isn’t great. Kalei will be working on putting the curriculum together with Middle Way House folks too, so please email her with any specific questions.

Announcements

We are going on Thanksgiving Break! We will return to school on 11/27. Students may need to finish up book club work over the break, but there is otherwise no additional homework.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • How did you feel about the movie Wonder? What lessons did it teach/share?
  • How has learning about puberty been? What questions have you heard and/or asked that have surprised you?
  • What questions do you still have about the human body?

 

Some questions asked & answered during health/puberty work this week:

  • How do periods happen?
  • Do boys basically have periods?
  • Will tampons get stuck? How much do they hurt?
  • How frequent do ejaculations happen? At what age?
  • Is it ok to feel sad a lot of the time?
  • When does puberty usually end?
  • Why do people have stuff [discharge] in their underwear? How does that happen?
  • What do pubic hairs do?
  • Why do wet dreams happen?
  • How do body fat and age impact when you start puberty?
  • How do growing pains happen?
  • How can we notice these changes?
  • What is puberty?

 

Newsletter 11 – 11/12/17

Weekly Highlights

This week in morning meeting we worked with the ideas of growth mindset. We talked about the windshield wiper method to de-stress. We imagined times that we get “stuck” and how these moments are like fog on a windshield. Eventually, the windshield is reducing our ability to see clearly and we have. We also talked about our current interests and hobbies – and reflected on those we’ve had in the past.

In readers workshop, we’ve been diagramming the plot of our books. We’ve been comparing conflicts/problems and breakthroughs as our stories move forward. Our read aloud Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere has been an incredible model of a plot where the character continues to be challenged and rarely experiences a breakthrough.

We began conversations in our classroom about gender and gender stereotypes. Soon into them, we discovered that students are very interested and curious about bodies – we’re hoping you respond to Mr. John’s email earlier about our plans to talk puberty this upcoming week.

Announcements

  • We are going to see “Wonder” on Friday. Please send in $6 for your child if you are able to. No child will be prevented from going based on an inability to pay.
  • We regularly use Google Classroom to send out assignments to students. If you have tech access at home, your child can show you how they log in by going to classroom.google.com and signing in with their @student.theprojectschool.org address.
  • The arts team has posted an update about 5/6. 
  • Art to Remember products online now include buttons, posters, and rulers
  • Repost of the snack schedule:

Last names Allen-Crouch – 8/14, 9/11, 10/23, 11/27
Last names Daniels-Lawson – 8/21, 9/18, 10/30, 12/4
Last names Leinenbach-Port – 8/28, 9/25, 11/6, 12/11
Last names Pulley-Wright 9/5, 10/2, 11/13, 12/18

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • Explain how the plot has looked in your book club book.
  • What is something you’ve gotten better at?
  • What stereotypes did you discuss in class?
  • How have you used Fresh Grade this year?
  • What new connections are you making?

Newsletter 10 – 11/5/17

Weekly Highlights

This week we worked on really moving up our responsibility. We had our first round of book club meetings that focused on inferring about who the characters are. Students met for 20-30 minutes once this past week and completed two written assignments about their book club reading.

We also started to move into some project work in our P3 unit about natural disasters. After putting final touches on research essays, students began to break into groups based on who may be more vulnerable in case of a storm or natural disaster. In small groups they discussed why some people may have more needs than others when a disaster strikes, and what might be done to address those needs.

Throughout the next few weeks, students will meet and do projects based on these vulnerable communities. We’ll have project time scheduled in a few times a week, and some students may also need/want to do work at home.

Announcements

  • As one P3 unit closes down, we begin another. Over the next two weeks before Thanksgiving break, we’ll be doing some work around gender in 5/6. During our P3 times we’ll be taking on questions like “What is gender?” and “What are stereotypes about gender?” This quick study will gently touch on media/advertising influence, and also help kiddos develop a more comprehensive understanding of what makes them – them! Following Thanksgiving break, our work will be a little more focused on bodies (and puberty!) but we will follow up with details on that soon.
  • We are so very excited to share with you the opportunity we have to take our 3-8th grade students to see the movie Wonder on Friday, November 17. This is a movie adaptation of the amazing book Wonder by RJ Palacio. The book and the movie fit so well with the work we do everyday at TPS. Many students have read this book themselves or had this book as a class read aloud at some point in the past few years. What is even more exciting is that we will be going on opening day and viewing the movie before any of the regular show times begin!
    The cost will be $6.00 per student.  Every child will attend the movie, regardless of ability to pay. If you can send an additional donation, beyond the cost of your child’s ticket, that will be greatly appreciated.
    There will be NO concessions offered at our special viewing. Please do not send additional money for snacks/concessions with your child.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • What have book clubs been like for you this round? How did your first discussion go?
  • What vulnerable population did you decide to focus on? What draws you to that group?
  • What have you learned about the natural disaster you studied?
  • You’ve been spending some time during dismissal playing the game “Rare Birds.” What has that been like?

Newsletter 9 – 10/30/17

Weekly Highlights

We have started a quick-turn-around research paper on natural disasters. Students are studying natural disasters that could impact Bloomington as well as who is most vulnerable in our community. We have been doing notes in our notebooks to capture important details.

We also began book clubs in our afternoons. Our book club theme is “The Storm Is Coming…” We began the week by talking about deadlines and our book club meetings. Each of the students in our class worked on a personalized schedule to meet the book club deadlines set by their group. We will have two homework assignments this week for readers to complete, one on the beginning of the plot and the other on character. In our writing about reading, we’ll be working on answers that show comprehension but also use our higher level thinking skills to cite evidence as we build inferences.

Announcements

  • Art to Remember is due on Wednesday – PLEASE send it back in ASAP!
  • Book Club work is the only homework (other than math) this week. Please know your child has time in class to complete this as well.
  • We are so very excited to share with you the opportunity we have to take our 3-8th grade students to see the movie Wonder on Friday, November 17. This is a movie adaptation of the amazing book Wonder by RJ Palacio. The book and the movie fit so well with the work we do everyday at TPS. Many students have read this book themselves or had this book as a class read aloud at some point in the past few years. What is even more exciting is that we will be going on opening day and viewing the movie before any of the regular show times begin!
    The cost will be $6.00 per student.  Every child will attend the movie, regardless of ability to pay. If you can send an additional donation, beyond the cost of your child’s ticket, that will be greatly appreciated.
    There will be NO concessions offered at our special viewing. Please do not send additional money for snacks/concessions with your child.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home

  • What natural disaster have you been studying? What do people need to be prepared for this kind of disaster? How does this disaster occur?
  • What are your first impressions of your book club book?
  • What’s something that friends and classmates have in common? What is something that is different about friends and classmates?

Newsletter 8 – 10/6/17

Weekly Highlights

It’s hard to believe we are already at the Fall Break mark!

This week, our class spent a lot of time focused on independent work stamina. We had several big assignments that students worked on – an on-demand revision in writing, a reading response for our first reading unit, and new book club choices. Students were so focused during these work sessions — we are definitely in the swing of things in workshops.

In P3 we worked on replicating and understanding more of what happened during Hurricane Katrina. Our read aloud, Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere follows a young girl in NoLa during the storm. In P3, we used stream tables to simulate the normal water cycle, a flood, and then our final experiment was to attempt to control a flood. Students designed levees, filtering systems, special housing, etc. to prevent homes and trees from being destroyed. Our read aloud is perfectly aligning to these experiments as our main character Armani has just been hit by the worst of the storm, her family currently seeking refuge in their attic.

 

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Announcements

Please check out a birthday invite from Weston here! 

We had a homework assignment due yesterday (October 5th, 2017). We did not send home anything for Fall Break! If you can help your child to find some reading time, we’d appreciate that greatly.

Please sign up for conferences if you haven’t already. Conference signups are live – you can find Mr. John’s (hopes) signup here and Ms. Kalei’s (dreams) signup here. Ms. Rebecca will be attending conferences from both lines.

Fresh Grade portfolios will be shared with you sometime during/ just after break. If you get a link inviting you to Fresh Grade – please don’t archive it, follow the link to see your child’s portfolio.

Questions to Ask Your Child at Home:

  • How do hurricanes/floods/etc impact an environment?
  • What books are you interested in book club choices? (If you’d like to preview the books yourselves, you can have your kiddos show you their “classroom” on google and preview the pdfs)
  • What do you think you are doing really well with so far this school year?
  • What’s a goal you have for yourself after Fall Break?